Rugby belongs to all South Africans
Donald Lee, DA Spokesperson on Sport and Recreation
12 April 2009
The demands placed on SA Rugby by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Sport, Butana Komphela for hosting a British and Irish Lions match in Port Elizabeth on 16 June are wholly unacceptable. The game of rugby, as well as any other national sport belongs to all the people of South Africa and is not the preserve of the ANC.
This kind of political meddling runs contrary to internationally accepted best practise and left unchecked could well endanger our membership of international sporting federations. In the build up to the 2010 World Cup we need to be sending the message that we are aware of our international commitments and responsibilities and that politics has no role to play in sport.
The demands made by the ANC include:
- Immediate payment of R 2.5 Million for rugby development in the Eastern Cape;
- Displaying and audio-visual presentation in the stadium on the meaning of Youth Day;
- Dictating the starting time of the match so as not to disturb Youth Day celebrations; and
- Insisting that the launch of a new Eastern Cape Franchise be announced at the match.
It is wholly inappropriate for the ANC to dictate to sporting codes how, when and on what conditions sporting events must be hosted, especially when attempting to solicit money from sporting bodies, money which should be provided by national government.
The DA will for its part continue to stand up for the independence of all sporting federations and to resist at all costs the ANC's unacceptable interference.